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By Editor in on 2 Jan 2008
2007 has been a pivotal year for Vietnam golf as it has seen a booming number of high-end golf courses, welcomed the establishment of the Ho Chi Minh Golf Trail, and reaped numerous international golf prizes, signaling a coming-of-age for the country's international golf standing.
At present, there are about 16 golf courses operating in the country, with more than 30 projects at some stage of construction.
Ba Ria - Vung Tau is considering six new golf course projects, adding to the boom of heavy industy, tourism and port investment in the nation's largest oilfield. In particular, the province has approved a 300-hectare golf course-tourism complex funded by the Republic of Korea. The project is expected to fulfill the province's development strategy to diversify services for industrial parks.
Recently, the largest 54-hole golf course in the country has been licensed in Lam Dong Province, with a total capital of more than 18 million USD. The project, invested by Jinsung Ltd. Co., from the Republic of Korea, is expected to kick of construction by early 2008 and begin operation by 2011.
Previously, with the opening of the Nam Hai resort in December 2006, the construction on the 18-hole
Montgomerie Links Vietnam golf course began in Quang Nam province. This showed that where luxury hotels are developed, golf is sure to follow, revealing a bright future for the tourism industry.
In July 2007, aiming to bring Vietnam golf to the world, seven top courses joined forces to form the Ho Chi Minh Golf Trail (www.hochiminhgolftrail.com). In the few months since its launch, the cooperation has been covered in more than 100 different publications worldwide. This is considered the most significant milestone among golf's 2007 successes in Vietnam.
Most importantly, the International Association of Golf Travel Operators (IAGTO) named the country its 2007 "Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year" on December 6. This award was a jewel moment in a banner golf year for Vietnam.
According to Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Chu, General Secretary of the Vietnam Golf Association, "With the announcement of this award, the secret is out. Vietnam is ready for the big time."
Furthermore, golf is the main reason behind Vietnam being ranked at 48th position among 53 "hot-spot" destinations in 2008 by the New York Times. Golf courses named by the Times includes the Dalat Palace Golf Club, Ocean Dunes Golf Club and the Montgomerie Links - Vietnam. The Dalat Palace Golf Club and Ocean Dunes Golf Club have recently been voted the best in Vietnam by readers of Asian Golf Monthly magazine. To explain the selection, Mr. Jeff Puchalski, director of golf at the two courses said: "In this day and age, safety whilst traveling is no small matter."
Indeed, thanks to a tropical climate, a thousand-mile coastline and a cost of living that makes golf, lodging, food and domestic travel extremely affordable, the number of international arrivals to Vietnam has increased from just 250,000 in 1990, to around 4 to 4.5 million in 2007.
Vietnam is the only country in Southeast Asia where international arrivals have grown ten fold over the last 10 years.
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